Together with our creative partner Diverse City, we recently hosted a weeklong inclusive residency for community members to mark ten years of working together, as well as celebrating a decade of TRP’s Funky Llama project.
Focusing on aerial and circus skills, the Creative Residency 2023 invited participants from TRP community groups Funky Llama, Our Space, Acting Up, Diverse City Next Generation and Unexpected Leaders to show off their innovation and nurture new talents. 30 attendees took part in the programme at TRP’s Production & Learning Centre, TR2, which involved workshops with professional disabled artists, actors, theatre directors, musicians, aerialists, scriptwriters, producers, leaders, mentors and coaches, and culminated in a performance in front of friends and family.
Diverse City’s circus performance company Extraordinary Bodies, led in partnership with Cirque Bijou, focusses on representative performance and ensures art can be made by anybody.
Workshops included music, where participants created original compositions; theatre and writing, which explored themes of performance; dance and movement where Plymouth-based Far Flung Dance Theatre created movement pieces and explored the way the body moves; and aerial and circus sessions delivered by Extraordinary Bodies where members practiced with specialist equipment with experts.
Theatre Royal Plymouth Engagement & Learning Officer Jodie Paget said: “We are thrilled to have staged this exceptional opportunity for our community members, together with Diverse City. The residency is an opportunity for individuals to meet and work with people they might not normally have the chance to work with and it was fantastic watching them get involved and step out of their comfort zone.”
Artistic Director for Diverse City Next Generation, Eilís Davis, said: “It was a delight to collaborate with Theatre Royal Plymouth for our 2023 residency. We share similar inclusive values and beliefs in new ways of making work.
“The people that we meet when making shows are so important to us and events such as our residencies allow us to demonstrate how much we value and respect everyone we meet on our journey.”
The groups involved include Funky Llama; a platform for disabled adults to actively participate in the creation and delivery of a programme of activities and professional, inclusive arts events, Our Space; company for adults with lived experience of homelessness, mental health issues, substance misuse, reoffending, or those who feel socially isolated, Acting Up; a company for anyone over 50yrs, Diverse City Next Generation; a performance training company for disabled and non-disabled young people moving towards a career in the performing arts, Unexpected Leaders; individuals connected to organisations across the UK making change in their communities through the arts.